MKO’s terrorist deeds approves a fact that it could never distinguish justification from legitimacy
Truth can never be propagated by doing violence. Those who believe in the justice of their cause have need to possess boundless patience, and those alone are fit to offer civil disobedience who are above committing criminal disobedience or doing violence. (Mahatma Gandhi)
On 30 August 1981, Mojahedin Khalq Organization (MKO/MEK/PMOI) set off a bomb in Iranian Prime Minister’s Office at 3 pm where the National Security Council was holding a meeting. The blast killed the new Iranian President, Muhammad-Ali Rajai, and his recently named Prime Minister, Mohammed Javad Bahonar. Now nearly three decades after the terrorist perpetration, it can be studied from different aspects.
The terrorist act, one of the most outrageous and blamable form of terrorism in the world history, was somehow endorsed by the West when they deliberately preferred to remain silent on the act that would trigger a global tension if it happened in a Western country. At the same time, none of the Western countries approved use of terrorism as a means of implacable determination to achieve undemocratic and ambitious ends. Oddly enough, it was committed at a time when MKO was plotting its terrorist plans in its Paris safe-haven under French protection.
Bombings perpetrated by MKO not only arouse outrage and anger among the nation, but also were condemned by a global consensus on the issue. That is true that some countries for certain political motives and interests, including that of seeking a degree of political autonomy or invading other countries, hardly respect the principles of combating the truculent phenomena of terrorism, the global consensus to combat terrorism in no way justifies use of terrorism in any form.
An analysis of any terrorist deed with the cost and impact imposed on the society among whom it has been committed illuminates dark aspects of the reason behind the deed. In fact, any terrorist act carries indirect messages from its perpetrators to the target societies. In other words, it can be said that any terrorist act is an abrupt undemocratic reaction against democratic and legal practices within a society. MKO’s terrorist deeds that plagued Iran following its defeat in both political and social fronts after its nationwide uprising of 20 June 1981 each carry coded messages which MKO’s terrorist campaign aims to convey. The prime target of the August 30th blast, Muhammad-Ali Rajai, won a landslide presidentialt election to replace the ousted Bani-Sadr. His prime minister, Mohammad Javad Bahonar, won a unanimous vote of the parliament as the head of the cabinet. In fact, MKO’s terrorist act did not aimed two leading figures of the regime but directly targeted the vote of people and their representatives.
MKO issued no immediate announcement to accept the responsibility of the operation and took no clear position. However, in a telephone interview reflected in some Western newspapers at the time, Massoud Rajavi said that the fatal bombing at the prime minister’s office was carried out “by the legitimate resistance movement”. But his further explanation made it explicit who he meant by the ‘resistance movement’: “I am not informed at this time exactly who planted the bomb, but it was the resistance movement and I do not deny that the Mujahedeen make up the majority of that movement”.
MKO claimed to have committed the crime as a legitimate resistance on behalf of the nation, but there is no record of when and where people voted to recognize the legitimacy of a self-proclaimed resistance that possessed no patience to fit social disobedience. Moreover, MKO’s candidates, especially its leader Massoud Rajavi, had failed in the two earlier elections of the parliament and the Assembly of Experts which indicates they won no considerable publicity in spite of their hot campaigns claiming to be revolutionary avant-gardes. It is common in most democratic countries that struggle for power is conducted through free, democratic elections and no loser engages in aggressive, violent activities to revenge his defeat. Being great losers in political scene, MKO’s terrorist, violent deeds imply that the group in no way respected the democratic principles exercised by people.
The message Agust 30th blast conveys is that MKO never stands for any legitimacy; if MKO were to receive no political recognition to assume power, then, neither could the legitimacy of any election be recognized nor the votes of the very same people whose legitimate right decides for the legitimacy of any power structure. Actually playing no decisive role in Iranian revolution, MKO later came to arrogate the right of the leadership. The flight of Rajavi and Bani-Sadr to France, from where they conducted the terrorist operation of blasting the prime minister’s office in Tehran, approves a fact that they could never distinguish justification from legitimacy, that “truth can never be propagated by doing violence.”